Monday, December 30, 2013
Jones-Drew's return about money
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has enjoyed his eight years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, likes coach Gus Bradley and the direction the franchise is headed, and would like to finish his career in Jacksonville.
However, it's all going to come down to money.
Will fans see Maurice Jones-Drew in a Jaguars uniform in 2014? The eight-year veteran says the answer will boil down to salary.
If Jones-Drew gets the right amount, he'll be back. If not, then the second-leading rusher in franchise history will finish his career elsewhere.
"I would love to see it through here, but you said it exactly right -- it's a monetary issue," Jones Drew said Monday, the day after the Jaguars finished the season with a 30-10 loss to Indianapolis to finish 4-12. "That's where we are now. It's not about football anymore. That's part of the deal, part of the game.”
But it is about football, specifically the kind he can play in 2014 and beyond. Jones-Drew will turn 29 in March and he has a lot of mileage on his 5-foot-7, 210-pound frame. He has carried the ball 1,804 times for 8,071 yards, caught 335 passes for 2,873 yards, and returned 79 kickoffs and 15 punts.
He missed all but six games in 2012 because of a Lisfranc injury and was bothered by ankle, knee and hamstring issues this season. This season, he rushed for 803 yards and five touchdowns, but his 3.4 yards per carry was the lowest of his career.
Jones-Drew said he doesn't have a fixed salary number he'd like to reach and would meet with is agent and see what the market may be. However, a nearly 30-year old running back that runs to contact, has 2,253 career touches, and has battled injuries the past two seasons, may only receive a few contract offers that meet Jones-Drew's parameters because of concerns over the wear-and-tear of an eight-year pro career.
Jones-Drew said he's still a feature back, and now that he's able to fully participate in offseason conditioning, he'll prove it in 2014. Jones-Drew is just a year removed from Lisfranc surgery and he spent the past offseason rehabbing that injury and that did not allow him to train the way he normally does, which includes Yoga, cardio, swimming, and hill sprints.
"There are some guys that don't need the offseason. They can just go out there and play ball," Jones-Drew said. "For me, the offseason is critical. I have to be able to train my body to be able to take the pounding that it takes each week, to be able to recover. I've been taking a lot of shots at my legs the last couple of years. I want to be able to get them back in shape and get ready to roll.
"This is going to be a critical offseason for me starting with the next couple of weeks, just getting back and ready to play."
The Jaguars have indicated they would like to re-sign Jones-Drew as long as it's at a reasonable number. Negotiations have yet to begin, but rookie running back Denard Robinson is hoping both sides can reach an agreement to keep Jones-Drew in teal and black.
"That's my big brother right there," Robinson said. "He'll do whatever for me and it would be kind of weird not to see him over there. I always look for him for guidance, him and Justin Forsett. I can't control what they want to do, but I really want him to come back."